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12 Things we learned from the Oscar noms

"Emily Blunt's day will come and she'll be Blue Jasmine amazing..." - Yavor

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Entries in Leave No Trace (10)

Saturday
Jan122019

FYC: Thomasin McKenzie in "Leave No Trace" for Best Actress

by Abe Fried-Tanzer

A good number of pundits agree that Thomasin McKenzie has an outside shot at scoring a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance as a teenage girl living on the outskirts of civilization with her father in the critically-acclaimed Leave No Trace. I’d like to posit a different theory – that she may end up as a surprise nominee for Best Actress.

Now, I don’t think this is likely, but I’d be ecstatic if it happened. Nathaniel is very big on calling out category fraud when he sees it, and there’s more than enough of that to go around this year. It’s actually just as puzzling to see McKenzie called a supporting actress as it is to see her costar Ben Foster classified as a supporting actor. They’re both leads, sharing screen time and the focus of the narrative...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan102019

Interview: Ben Foster on "Leave No Trace" and Acting as Therapy

by Nathaniel R

Ben Foster discussing "Leave No Trace" last summer when it openedWhen I first met Ben Foster he was promoting Rampart (2011), a hard and angry movie about corrupt cops in which the acting was (unsurprisingly) terrific, he would barely speak about himself. Time has mellowed him, or at least made him more lighthearted about his own intensity. He ended our last interview begging for a screen comedy but sadly that project has never materialized. In person he's friendly and thoughtful and funny, never as impenetrable or scary or tragically sad as he has been is in his famous roles. In fact he's a happy new father, having had a daughter with his wife, the actress Laura Prepon, just over a year ago.

We met last month to discuss Debra Granik's award-winning drama Leave No Trace. He plays Will, a former soldier who has shut himself off from society with only his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) for companionship.When Will and Tom are found living in the woods at the beginning of the film, social workers attempt to reintegrate them into society. The daughter immediately adapts but the father is tougher to reach. Leave No Trace is moving and insightful and beautifully acted so that's where we begin as we discuss his career, his early days in acting, and what's next.

Our interview, has been edited for clarity and length...

with Director Debra Granik on set

NATHANIEL: Projects like Leave No Trace live or die based on the chemistry between the leads, so how can you prepare for a two-hander like this. Were you involved in casting? 

BEN FOSTER: I was involved in casting so far as Debra said 'I found someone I really like, and she's in New Zealand, here's the tape'. It was recorded on her phone and I watched like 30 seconds before I was like 'Oh yeah, that's it.'  

Instant approval. That's so cool.

She has a quality --you see it in person and you see it onscreen, she's lit from within. [In awe] She's one of them.

And I assume you trusted Debra a little bit on unknown actors, too, because she's famous for that Jennifer Lawrence discovery...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan022019

Podcast: On the Basis of Sex and Destroyer

Nathaniel R and Murtada Elfadl and Chris Feil talk new films

We recorded this one just before Christmas so apologize on the delay at delivering it to you! 

Index (57 minutes)
00:01 Felicity Jones underwhelming RBG in On the Basis of Sex
06:50 Mixed takes on Karyn Kusama's Destroyer with Nicole Kidman
12:52 "Festive" Christmas movies like Vice, Shoplifters, Destroyer, Capernaum, Beale Street... so many depressing films scheduled for the holidays
18:30 Oscar shortlists for Score, Visual Effects, and Makeup
28:00 The Documentary Finals and the short films
35:00 Will Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) be nominated for Best Director? Will Green Book controversies derail its expected screenplay nomination?
46:22 Leave No Trace and A Quiet Place might be peaking at the right time for big nominations
56:00 The Wrap Up

Further Reading / References
Oscar Chart: Screenplay Charts
Oscar Chart: Visual FX & Makeup
Oscar Chart: Original Score
Documentary Finalists
Nathaniel's Destroyer Review
Shadow & Act's Green Book Article

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Destroyer, On the Basis of Sex, Oscar Discussions

Friday
Dec282018

Our Favorite Line Readings of 2018

Every day a new Year in Review round-up as we joyfully bid 2018 adieu...

For today's entry we asked Team Experience and a few of our friends to share their favorite line reading of the year. No one was assigned anything so these are direct from our faces to your faces. Yes, Toni Collette's towering work in Hereditary is on our minds lately. Remember that gem? 

And all I get back is that fucking face on your face."

Or these:

I am your MOTHER." 

I did everything they told me not to do, but it didn't work. I'm happy it didn't work.

So, that was my mom’s life.

God she's extraordinary in that new horror classic, isn't she?

Okay, ready for more actorly gems as actors elevating specific lines or sometimes whole films. Here we go...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec212018

18 Beautiful Examples of Co-Star Chemistry in 2018

Year in review list mania each day. Here's Nathaniel...

This is our fourth year of highlighting that unpredictable spark between actors that can elevate a movie whether the movie is able to catch up or not (see previously installments for '15'16 and '17, if you're so inclined).  If only we could bottle these formulas but the thing about great chemistry is that it can't ever be fully recreated even if old movies during the studio system teach us that the same pairing can at least generate similar energy again. Why Hollywood doesn't still try to repackage successful combos of actors (rather than just all the brand do-overs) remains an unsolved mystery 

Herewith the most beautifully realized relationship energy of the year...

18 [TIE] Ben Foster & Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace 
AND Josh Hamilton & Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (Single Father/Teenage Daughter)
There's a lot to recommend in both films, two sleeper arthouse successes this year, but neither film would have the same emotional resonance without that authenticity of feeling in the central duet. Marvel at the way Hamilton looks at or speaks to Fisher, for example, perpetually impatient to be let in on her interior life, but also nervous about intruding on her journey and walling her off yet further. Equally impressive is the difficult balancing act McKenzie plays as both dutiful daughter and emotional caretaker for her troubled father, as she grows ever more restless to escape him without losing him. What a quartet of performances...

Click to read more ...